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Building delayed – want to cancel contract?

By kevin22 - 24 September 2010 18

Long story short, We are FHOB and we’re currently building a house in the Gungahlin area, the building started in Feb, however only the brick is up and the roof is still pending. The building contract said max 30 weeks to complete a single level house, which will be this November 2010. At this stage I don’t think we can make it. Anyway I’ve being contacting our builder over the last  7 months and check up on the status, and their excuses have been:

  • Rain
  • Not enough tradesmen
  • Not enough bricklayers
  • Tradesman is on holiday
  • Colorbond company is flat out
  • And there are various reason which I’m not going to list.

In the last month or so, I’ve been trying to politely get in contact with my builder via email and phone calls, the builder seem to ignore me and won’t return my calls or reply to my emails.

It’s like rolling a dice and have a 1/6 chance of getting in contact with my builder. At this stage I’m seriously concerned that in future our builder will ignore us once the building has been completed if we needed the 3 months warranty cover.

I know that most of people building a house will have similar experience as we does, and I’ll need your advice.

Anyway the simple question is, can I terminate the contract with the builder? Can anyone recommend me a lawyer to help me through this? Is there anything else i can do?

Thanks

What’s Your opinion?


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18 Responses to
Building delayed – want to cancel contract?
T1G3R 10:51 pm 25 Sep 10

Have you got your loans sorted out? Have you paid the builder? Builders won’t build unless they have their payments to purchase materials. Alot of factors come into it but you have to be patient.

If you want to terminate your contract you really need to look through it thoroughly. Just because they give you a time frame doesn’t mean it’ll be done by then.

You also have to consider the fact that other tradesman like sparkies don’t like working when there are others on the site like carpenters?

Your home is not the only one on the builders list of things to be done as well. They are busy people you know, be patient and civil and i’m sure things can be worked out.

georgesgenitals 12:19 pm 25 Sep 10

What’s the payment schedule? I’d stop making payments until they sit down with you.

creative_canberran 9:41 pm 24 Sep 10

djk said :

creative_canberran said :

Regarding the warranty you mentioned, 3 months is the statutory warranty applicable to consumer products only, not for residential dwellings. These are covered by a separate statutory warranty in the ACT which covers structural work for a period of 6 years from the date the certificate of occupancy is granted and non-structural work for 2 years from the same date.

I believe he is referring to the 90 day (statutory) maintenance period on new residential properties, where the builder is required to make good any problems that arise with the property. It is notoriously hard to get a builder back to fix something after they have been paid, so I would think OP is definitely going to have trouble with his builder if it is required.

True, never heard it described as a warranty before. It also doesn’t typically cover anything that is covered by the 6yr and 2yr warranties.

kevin22 9:32 pm 24 Sep 10

Hi all, thanks you all for your comments. I find it very helpful.
As to what type of contract, our builder uses it both HIA and MBA, or at least what it said on the builder website. On the contract is said 30 weeks(subject to clauses 4, 10 and 11), which i our builder didn’t provide us with all the clause, but only partial. As I’ve mentioned before we’re FHOB and inexperience and maybe the builder take advantage of us. It is ashamed that the law seem to favor the builder.
As for finding another builder, I have no problem finding that, and another builder is willing to take over the project and complete the project.

I finally got in contact with LegalAid and they are very helpful. From here we’ll go over the contract with the lawyer and see what we can do.

affordable 6:27 pm 24 Sep 10

what type of contract, if HIA or MBA contact them, otherwise ACT builders licencing at ACTPLA, would be interested, any delays must be in writing as they occur, do you have liquidated damages in contract ?

domintec 3:57 pm 24 Sep 10

My solicitor once told me, as long as they apply for delay, there is not much we can do about it.

It’s only 7 months so far, my friend settled Nov 2009, and only see the bricks last week.

One true advise, if try not piss the builder, after all, all builders are evil, and those who were pissed off…don’t want to think that far.

Holden Caulfield 3:51 pm 24 Sep 10

I feel your pain, but hopefully you can get through it with your current builder – as horrible as that may be. Because, whatever pain you’re experiencing now will be nothing compared to trying to find a builder to finish a half-built house.

harvyk1 3:18 pm 24 Sep 10

Just out of interest, don’t you already have a solicitor? On purchase of the property you would have no doubt gotten a lawyer to do your conveyancing. If so give them a call. They would know the contract the best, and would be able to tell you of your rights.

djk 3:11 pm 24 Sep 10

creative_canberran said :

Regarding the warranty you mentioned, 3 months is the statutory warranty applicable to consumer products only, not for residential dwellings. These are covered by a separate statutory warranty in the ACT which covers structural work for a period of 6 years from the date the certificate of occupancy is granted and non-structural work for 2 years from the same date.

I believe he is referring to the 90 day (statutory) maintenance period on new residential properties, where the builder is required to make good any problems that arise with the property. It is notoriously hard to get a builder back to fix something after they have been paid, so I would think OP is definitely going to have trouble with his builder if it is required.

MEATBEE 2:24 pm 24 Sep 10

this isn’t legal advice, but Ive just gone through a very similar horrific experience (6 months behind schedule) – sadly, the law is stacked heavily in the builders favor.

Review the contract and call your solicitor and talk them through where you are at.

creative_canberran 2:02 pm 24 Sep 10

It’s a very complex matter and it’s best to speak to ACT Office of Fair Trading or a Solicitor. A firm written letter from a solicitor drawing the builder’s attention to the provision of your contract and the implied terms under ACT legislation may be all that’s needed to get things moving again.

Regarding the warranty you mentioned, 3 months is the statutory warranty applicable to consumer products only, not for residential dwellings. These are covered by a separate statutory warranty in the ACT which covers structural work for a period of 6 years from the date the certificate of occupancy is granted and non-structural work for 2 years from the same date.

Noezis 12:41 pm 24 Sep 10

Anyway the simple question is, can I terminate the contract with the builder? Can anyone recommend me a lawyer to help me through this? Is there anything else i can do?

Have you read the contract?

There should be clauses in there pertaining to your legal stance in case of a dispute or not meeting the project timeline.
This is probably the most important part other than the delivery schedule of what they must deliver and to what standard.

astrojax 12:19 pm 24 Sep 10

FHOB… frighteningly hairy old bastards?

as laywers go, the only firms i have had dealings with – on unrelated matters – in the past several years were both excellent, so call either culquhoun murphy in braddon or bevan snell in queanbeyan.

good luck!

Genie 12:09 pm 24 Sep 10

His 2nd and 3rd excuse might be legitimate.

My room mate and my partners brother are both brickies and are desperately seeking other people to help them out as they have about 4 times as much work as they can handle at the moment.

Call a lawyer. Don’t seek advice on here.

enrique 11:36 am 24 Sep 10

People of Canberra – the internet is not the place to go to if you are looking for legal advice. Go and speak to a solicitor or legal-aid.

http://www.yellowpages.com.au/search/listings?clue=solicitors&locationClue=ACT&x=0&y=0

http://www.legalaidact.org.au/

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